Oddly enough, I’ve read this book twice and I’ve never written a review for it. So, here we go!
It’s a very short book. I listened to the audiobook today at work and I think that by 10 or so, I was done and moving onto the next book. And I had gotten into work at 7:30. It’s very short, but it packs a punch and I can appreciate the book more each time.
Really, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as a kid. It’s a bit too weird and kind of freaky (this was before I got into all things scary) and the audiobook with those damn mice singing is something out of a horror movie. I also never saw the movie and kind of avoided hyped things even as a kid.
But, it’s a seriously good book. A solid middle-grade example. Gaiman takes the feeling that most kids have of their parents not really liking them or having better things to do or just that they don’t get you and spins it to a wish of the other parents. Except, in Coraline’s case, they’re real.
Since most people have read this book, I’ll give a very brief plot summary. Coraline’s parents don’t quite understand her, her neighbors don’t bother to know her real name, and she doesn’t seem to have any friends. So, she decides to explore and finds another world. And things go terribly wrong.
So, why do I like this book so much? Why does anyone like this book so much? It’s a very popular children’s book, after all. I think that it’s so popular is that it accurately represents a child’s life.
I remember going through times when I felt as if my parents could care less about me and had their own lives that didn’t revolve around me. I also felt like they just didn’t understand me, without the hormonal angst of being a teen. That slightly dull and numb feeling of being misunderstood without the anger behind it compounded by trying to find out who you really are.
Coraline feels that and seeks to find someone that does understand her. Not only that, but she’s never really abandoned by anyone in her journey to the other world. YA makes a big point of neglecting the parents to leave the main character with only themselves and some friends who can save the whole world. Middle grade still has that whole thing of saving the world with friends, but they never are abandoned. They’re always supported by adults who care about them.
That’s what Coraline has. I think this book strikes a deep and familiar chord for most people, along with a reminder that your parents do love you and support you.